Incompetence: The Perfect Get out of Jail Free Card

April 8, 2014

Being elected as one of the nine judges at the Texas Criminal Court of Criminal Appeals is an honorable, yet a very difficult way to serve justice in the Lone Star State. This is a judicial body that determines whether the State of Texas actually has the right to invoke capital punishment and execution, and it was this court that recently decided a delicate matter on the grounds of incompetence.
In September of 2013, the Texas Criminal Court of Criminal Appeals decided that a mentally ill prisoner on death row could not be forced to be medicated for the purpose of treating his condition. As a result, the Texas inmate could not proceed with execution. The rationale of the court’s decision was based on the fact that the inmate could not be considered competent to undergo a legal proceeding unless he was medicated. Since the death penalty is part of the law in Texas, the state cannot proceed unless the defendant is competent to do so.